Relationships Among Gender, Science, and Glaciers

by Becky Strong

In 2016, Mark Carey, M. Jackson, Alessandro Antonello, and Jaclyn Rushing from the University of Oregon wrote an article discussing the relationships among gender, science, and glaciers, a topic which they believe is understudied. Glaciers play a major role in climate change, and the authors believe that their common representations have removed their social and cultural context, leaving them to be portrayed as nothing more than “simplified climate change yardsticks and thermometers” (Carey et al. 2016). The authors do not think that ice has no deep significance and is something that simply melts, which is a perspective consistently appearing in public discourse. They believe that ice has historical value and is an element of change, which qualifies it to be considered as a part of society, and therefore societal concern. Glaciers affect people all around the world by influencing sea levels, providing water as a natural resource, inspiring the arts, and shaping cultural values. This leads the authors to believe that there is a need for much more research about the societies that live in cold regions where glaciers are present. They also argue that the relationship between gender and glaciers, especially from a feminist perspective, is a critical aspect of global change research that has been overlooked thus far. Feminist theories can bring about new perspectives on the history of glaciological knowledge and are relevant to understanding the relationship between people and ice. This could be accomplished through studying the effect of gender on those producing knowledge on glaciers and introducing diverse ways to portray glaciers other than those proposed by the natural sciences. According to these authors, most of the current glaciological research has been done by men and is about men, excluding the role of women in the history of science. The perspectives of women can lead to more relevant climate change research, due to their firmer understanding of how other women around the world understand and react to climate change. Feminist glaciology seeks to steer research and public perceptions away from the idea that “ice is just ice” and onto broader insights into ice narratives. The authors believe that this shift in global climate change research can lead to more equal and just gender relations as well as international political economic relations.

Carey, M., Jackson M., Antonello, A., Rushing, J., 2016. Glaciers, gender, and science: A feminist glaciology framework for global environmental change research. Progress in Human Geography, 1-24.



TWEET: The relevance of #feminism and #feministideology in #climatechange research and the relationships between humans and #glaciers.

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